Marcus Law felt Kettering Town’s performance merited more than it got after they were edged out 1-0 at Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division leaders Chippenham Town.
A first-half strike from Will Richards ultimately proved decisive as the Poppies’ hopes of finishing in a play-off place were dealt a significant blow.
Kettering pushed hard for an equaliser in the second half but they were out of luck when Brett Solkhon hit the crossbar with a late header.
The defeat has left Law’s team still in ninth place and now 12 points adrift of the top five with just 13 games remaining.
But the manager insisted he couldn’t have asked for much more from his players.
“The difference was a 30-yard strike from their centre-half and that was all there was between the two teams,” Law said.
“We were not as clinical as we have been of late, we have hit the bar and they defended in numbers and their defence has probably earned them the victory.
“Our lads gave it everything, I can’t fault their effort and, aside from the goal, we haven’t done a great deal wrong.
“We played well, there’s no doubt about that and we should have got something out of it.”
There was a departure from Latimer Park ahead of the game as winger Wilson Carvalho joined Oxford City following a seven-day approach.
That came after the Poppies had signed Jorrin John, who was named on the bench yesterday.
“I didn’t get Jorrin in to replace Wilson,” Law added.
“Jorrin has been training with us for a couple of weeks and he has done well.
“I think Wilson had got a bit frustrated at not getting as many starts.
“We have been playing well and he was mainly coming off the bench and making an impact.
“Someone has come in for him and offered him a deal and it’s one he chose to take.”